We already knew this was coming, but today it became official that Daisuke Matsuzaka will play for the SoftBank Hawks next season. The Hawks are a Nippon Professional Baseball based in Fukuoka, Japan.
''This is a very solid team,'' Matsuzaka said at a press conference. ''I remember from my days pitching in Japan how difficult they were to face. It should be a very enjoyable team to pitch for.''
Matsuzaka wasn't the most exciting member of the Mets in 2013 and 2014, in fact, he was notorious for slowing down the games in which he pitched. However, the important thing was that he ate up innings by serving as a solid spot starter and decent bullpen arm.
Last year, Matsuzaka made nine starts for the Mets and made 25 relief appearances. His 50 walks were hard to swallow, but he also struck out 78 batters in his 83.1 innings and let up just six home runs. His 3.89 ERA and 1.34 WHIP are numbers that are palatable from a guy who functions as a fill-in fifth starter. His durability and versatility will be missed, but Matsuzaka isn't irreplaceable.